The Splash World water park in Southport is on track to reopen this summer after being closed for the past three years, due to a seven figure essential repairs bill.
Sefton Council officers are now urgently seeking to borrow a further £270,000 to carry out a long list of ‘essential works’ and ‘necessary works’ which it wants to implement as fast as possible in order to start recouping money from families enjoying their summer holidays.
The local authority believes that when Splash World reopens this August, with its upgraded facilities, it will attract large numbers of visitors due to it being “the only wet weather tourist attraction in Southport”.
Council officers added that “the work needs to be carried out imminently to allow Splash World to reopen and hopefully capitalise on summer visitors during what is the busiest time of year”.
The £270,000 borrowed cash would be paid back over 10 years, through Splash World income, at a rate of £30,818 per year.
It would be in addition to the £1.4million currently being spent on essential repairs. Sefton Council pursued legal action to recover the funds against previous contractors after a series of serious defects were discovered.
The facility was closed in late 2019 due to what Sefton says was “significant Health and Safety concerns”.
Defects discovered include a failure in the steel frame coating (paint) system, along with concrete repairs to failed areas of the flume tower staircase. The tiling of the pool wall and floor surfaces also needed replacing.
The new funding would pay for improvements including: new cafe equipment; refurbished toilets, new artificial foliage, electrical works, new pool filters, safety handrail repairs, handrail paintwork, new pool filtration pumps, and a new water play area safety floor.
In their report, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Splash World closed in December 2019, due to health and safety concerns related to extensive failure in the pool tiling system.
“Due in the main to the ongoing dispute, it was several months before the pool was drained and further investigative testing was undertaken.
“A detailed scheme of remediation was formulated thereafter to address a range of latent defects.
“The works were agreed by Cabinet and funding was made available and tenders subsequently invited through Property and Building Services. Work commenced last year and is due to be completed on the 5th August 2022.
“At the time of considering the original report it was highlighted that the centre would benefit from a broader scheme of refurbishment due to many areas looking tired and worn after nearly 15 years of use.
“It has since been highlighted by officers that there is also other essential and necessary works required to allow the facility to reopen that did not form part of the original defect repair scheme, as this scheme was based around the legal claim concerning the latent defects only. These works are essential on the grounds of health and safety.”
It is proposed to tender the work in individual ‘chunks’ to a number of potential contractors.
Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “The funds are necessary to allow Splash World to reopen as a fully functioning water park later this summer and as such, attract high volumes of visitors in order to support the facility’s £1.8 million income target.
“The current forecast for the works to rectify the issues are approximately £270,000. We are proposing prudential borrowing with the service repaying over a 10 year period. This would mean an annual repayment of £30,818.
“These repayments are based on an invest to save principle and will be covered from revenue income which, given Splash World will be reopening, with upgraded facilities and that it is still the only wet weather tourist attraction in Southport, are anticipated to increase.
“If agreed, the work needs to be carried out imminently to allow Splash World to reopen and hopefully capitalise on summer visitors during what is the busiest time of year for the facility.”